Chris Ilitch will never escape his father’s shadow

Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings owner Chris Ilitch comes across as cheap compared to his late spend-big-buck father Mike Ilitch.

Detroit Tigers Owner Chris Ilitch was one of four MLB Owners who voted against raising the competitive balance sheet tax during the most recent round of negotiations, a far cry from his late father Mike Ilitch’s willingness to spend big to field a competitive team.

Mike Ilitch was best known for founding Little Caesars, as well as the longtime owner of Tigers and the NHL‘S Detroit Red Wings. While it took years for the Tigers to finally be a winner under Ilitch’s watch, they won the 2006 AL Pennant and remained competitive in the AL Central until five years ago. The Red Wings were an elite team for three decades.

While the late Ilitch was never afraid to spend money to try and win games, his son has come across as the tight-fist since taking over Ilitch Holdings’ finances in 2017.

Detroit Tigers: Chris Ilitch is struggling to live up to his father’s rich sporting legacy

While it’s incredibly difficult to win in professional sports, it’s nearly impossible to win with consistency when an owner treats a team like little more than a financial holding company. When ownership of a team passes to a younger family member, this usually happens. You can’t fake passion or get someone to be a fan of something like their deceased relative once was.

So it’s no coincidence that the Tigers and Red Wings haven’t qualified for the postseason since Mr. I. The Tigers have returned to AL Central insignificance over the past five years. The Red Wings are in the midst of their worst run since the late 1970s-early 1980s. Ilitch bought the Red Wings in 1982. They won four Stanley Cups under his leadership as owner.

Ultimately, that’s just sad. Detroit is a passionate sports city and most of their teams are terrible. The Detroit Lions have been dysfunctional for generations. While the Detroit Pistons have won three NBA The finals were so awful a year ago that they won the NBA Draft Lottery to select Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham. The Tigers and the Red Wings are not going anywhere fast.

There are teams that are actively trying to win games, and they’re not the Tigers or the Red Wings. Chris Ilitch will never escape his father’s shadow

John Verrall

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